miércoles, 7 de noviembre de 2018

A student's significant letter

At the end of any school year, it’s customary that students write goodbye letters to his fellows and occasionally to some of their teachers, either to express their feelings (gratitude, apologies, nostalgia and so on) or made promises to keep everlasting memories about those good old days.

On this subject, I've never seemed like an emotional person to my students, even though I remember some of them with special sympathy. Nevertheless, I’ve preferred to look like Mr. Spock and keep myself away from any kind of tears-and-hugs sessions when the course is about to be over, not only due to personal reasons (skepticism mainly) but also for practical and safety reasons (children and teenagers could get confusing feelings about it). Very few former students can say they witnessed any kind of expression of affection of mine, and I plan to keep that way.

But regarding to those letters that I mentioned above, I can hardly remember five that have caused a strong (and silent) reaction on me, not because I haven’t appreciated or believed the rest of them, their words surely sincerely written and their true feelings. No, nothing farthest from truth. The thing is that those special letters contained something unique that caught me on, considering the context in which they were written.

Recently I received one of that kind, signed “anonymous” but easily recognizable by some references included. Among the not-very-neat grammar (to say the least), this sentence grabbed my spotlight:

You were the first person who believed in me.

Needless to say that I never expected something like that.

Surely that statement came up because, a few years ago, this teen person was involved in a little comedy that had to be shown to students and families. I remember how hard was to encourage her to perform, though her remarkable abilities on the stage.

Despite the fact that the sketch was very successful, she always showed reluctance to continue performing, and in some moment I thought I shouldn’t have pressed her that way (you know: as a teacher, you’re always at risk to overwhelm your students, no matter your good intentions).

But at the end of the day… that experience revealed itself (in her own words) as a breakpoint, something happily positive, memorable for her and inspiring for me to keep doing my best as a teacher.

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